Use leftover fruit peels to make homemade jelly in under an hour

Guestpost by Audrey on May 12th

Breakfast for Blythe

Photo by Stephanie Kilgast. Used under Creative Commons license.

As a person trying to eat better, consume better, and waste less, I am always saddened to throw away perfectly good food unfortunately considered irrelevant in my French culture: fruit and vegetable peels. Let's face it, you can eat unpeeled fruits and vegetables but once they're peeled, peels become shameful and must be discarded ASAP. I guess this is since people of yore used to feed their pigs and chickens peels, so they retain this image as trash. I am fighting to avoid useless waste!

While I am struggling to find some use for veggie peels besides soup, I've found a yummy use for fruit peels which will allows you to kill two birds with one stone: you can have your pie (or stewed fruits/apple crisp/whatever) and jelly!

When you cook fruits, you usually peel them. I've tried stewed unskinned apples, but honestly it's not that great. So you're left with perfectly edible apple peels full of pectin — which happens to be the substance which makes jellies and marmelade sticky. Cooking your own jelly might be a bit long, but it's so worth it.

Here are the supplies needed for one jar of jelly

  • Approximately 5-6 apples worth of peels (and cores)
  • Approximately 50 cL (17 fl oz) water
  • One lemon skin
  • Caster sugar
  1. Wash the peels and boil them for 30 minutes. Let drain in a colander for a couple of hours.
  2. Weigh this sluice, and add the same weight of sugar and boil the mixture for 10 minutes. The texture should be that of a sugar syrup with lots of bubbles. Sift if there are unwanted solids.
  3. Put in a jar, cool for a night and… om-nom-nom-nom! Voilà ! Delicious jelly!


  • Be sure to wash the peels properly if the fruits were not organically grown.
  • You might have some trial and error with your quantity of water — in order to find the right balance between gooey jelly and Turkish Delight-like stuff. In the final step, try adding water and sugar a little at a time if you think you'll be left with too little juice.
  • Unless you want really solid jelly, don't cool it in the refrigerator. The fridge is fine after the initial cooling period.
  • Try other flavors! I love adding strawberry leaves and a bit of flesh to the mix for a strawberry jelly. You could flavor it with any edible fruit peels, as long as you have either apple or citrus peels in the mix, as they have the pectin you need.
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About Audrey

She is a self-employed translator trying to live as eco-friendly as possible in a large French city. Audrey lives with her partner and a tiny black panther, and sometimes shares her cooking experiments with them. She just loves all things homemade, from cooking to furniture to art.